Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant won an Oscar Award for best animated short film for his “Dear Basketball” visual work. The short was based off the poem Bryant wrote to formally announce his retirement.
The film was debuted during the halftime ceremony of the Lakers’ retirement of Bryant’s Nos. 8 and 24 jerseys at Staples Center. Bryant was the screenwriter and executive producer of the animated short, while Glen Keane was the director and John Williams composed the score for the film.
Well before he knew of the outcome, Bryant said winning an Oscar would be a greater accomplishment than any that came during his storied career on the hardwood. He more recently said the nomination served as ‘validation’ of being more than an athlete.
As it stood, Bryant became the first former professional athlete to be nominated for an Oscar. His poem marked the start of a second career of sorts for the five-time champion.
Since producing “Dear Basketball,” Bryant has created multiple videos for his MuseCage Basketball Network. The focus of which have been to teach the sport and highlight some of the NBA’s marquee talent for an audience that ranges from young children to adults.
Next for Bryant is the premiere of “Detail” sometime in March. The 15-episode series is a partnership between ESPN and Bryant’s studio, Granity Studios.
Complete field of Oscar-nominated animated short titles:
“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, director, and Kobe Bryant, writer (Glen Keane Productions)
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon, directors (MOPA)
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, director, and Dana Murray, producer (Pixar Animation Studios)
“Negative Space,” Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata, directors (Ikki Films)
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer, directors (Magic Light Pictures)